The annual Polar Research Conference was held on the 1st and 2nd of November. This year the conference took place in Kongens Lyngby at DTU.

This year’s conference focused on drones and satellites, with the ambition of promoting new ideas and cooperation in the use of drones, satellites and other platforms across the different areas of research.

The conference took place in DTU’s Oticonhall, wherein several dedicated and interested guest managed to fill the hall. Fortunately, for those who were unable to attend the conference, all of the presentations, speeches, discussions etc. were live-streamed and accessible to all interested.

The two newly published Danish strategies for Arctic research, education and innovation and for space and drones acted were heavily influential on the discussions that took place. Based on the strategies, the focus was on the prospects of technological platforms supporting or improving the polar research and what new possibilities these prospects could foster. Niels Andersen, director of Polar DTU, opened the conference with an introduction and a presentation of the conference’s moderator, Martin Breum, who also moderated last year’s polar research conference.

The first day of the conference started with a welcoming speech by Anders Bjarklev, chancellor of DTU, which was followed by Ulla Tørnæs, minister for education and research, who presented the new Danish strategy for Arctic research, education and innovation. Furthermore, Hanne Fugl Eskjær, the Danish Arctic Ambassador, presented perspectives on the cooperation, which may boost the development for the benefit of Denmark and the Arctic. Furthermore, the day consisted of presentations from keynote speaker Dr. Jeremy Wilkinson from British Antarctic Survey, and several other speakers focusing on the possibilities in the use of satellites, drones and new innovative platforms in the polar research. The day was concluded with two presentations by students from Copenhagen University and DTU and a networking and dinner at Raadvad Kro in the beautiful surroundings near DTU.

The second day of the conference was initiated by 3-minute presentations from a wide range of different speakers. The overall focus was on the usage of different platforms in the polar research based on different cases from the field, as well as a focus on new perspectives on the use of drones and satellites. All the presentations had a general focus on the wide range of different methods in using drones and the analyses that can be performed with the help of drones as a tool.

Following the shorter presentations, Gitte Agerhus from the Education and Research Ministry presented the new Danish strategy for Arctic research, education and innovation, which Ulla Tørnæs had presented the first day. In this presentation, Gitte Agerhus gave concrete examples of different initiatives from the strategy’s plan of action. The presentation was followed by a lively debate with suggestions and questions to the plan of action. The second day was concluded by two shorter presentations, where the focus was on new possibilities for cooperation between the different polar researchers.

Throughout the conference open discussions were present and through these it was evident that the entire field of polar research were in dire need of funding in order to complete current projects and develop new methods. During the two days of conference several initiatives and possibilities were presented, which all were realistic to complete within a somewhat near future, even though the funding is lacking.

The strategies in focus at the conference can be found, in danish, here at the Polar Research Conference’s homepage, where additional information about the presentations and the speakers can be found along with a video of the live-stream.

Photo: Arctic Consensus